January 2013 / New Sara Hughes recent commission and exhibition
November 2011 / Sara Hughes interview at the Govett Brewster Art Gallery
APRIL 2011 / SARA HUGHES IN LIVING ROOM
Curated by Andrew Clifford this year Living Room is a 10-day public takes place from 8-17th April. Featuring local and international artists who have created new projects re-imagining our day to day urban surroundings. Sara Hughes is creating a poster project that will be a constantly changing installation that responds to digital maps and apps, layers of virtual way-finding and how this new technology can compete with physical experience, often with commercial intent. Hughes explores this electronic overload to deconstruct the conventions of the poster-wall, where images crinkle and fade in the tactile environment of paste and paper, pedestrians and weather. Her project can be seen on the poster hording on Mayoral Drive, behind the Central Library.
Sara Hughes' work explores the way the typically abstract medium of colour can be used to communicate. She extracts information from reports, predictions, diagrams, data and graphics. She then translates it from the online digital realm of lit pixels to the painterly world of brushes and pigment mixing. Her recent work considers the aesthetics of coded data, taking the calculations of daily business, and reconsidering its presentation to the consumer world. Through the subjective language of colour, she takes hard scientific facts and presents them as both visual information and experience, blending the rational with the emotional.
For Living Room, Hughes continues to chart the rivers of information that influence our understanding of the city with a constantly changing installation. Her project draws inspiration from a 1971 council booklet that proposed a utopian new vision for the CBD. This was published 40 years ago, in Auckland's centenary year, when the new central library was opened. Now, in an age of digital maps and apps, layers of virtual way-finding can compete with physical experience, often with commercial intent. Hughes explores this electronic overload to deconstruct the conventions of the poster-wall, where images crinkle and fade in the tactile environment of paste and paper, pedestrians and weather. (Text: Andrew Clifford)
APRIL 2011 / SARA HUGHES AT GOVETT BREWSTER ART GALLERY
Sara Hughes' The Golden Grain is now installed at the Govett Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth. Hughes was invited to create a new work for the Gallery cafe as part of the exhibition Stealing the Senses.
The cafe space is re-imagined as a social art installation and presents Hughes' vibrant graphics, colour and repeated patterns in various materials on all surfaces of the interior and exterior space to make the connection with specific economic, political and social environments. Using the tools and data of statistical analysis, Hughes creates a dialect between abstraction and social reference systems. Here, the artist looks at historical wheat production in Taranaki against a background of global change in traditional food usage and related economies. Wheat production in Egypt, for example, was a particular area of research. During the making of the work, changes affecting the output and distribution of this essential grain occurred as a result of recent political turmoil. (source: Govett Brewster website)
On the project Hughes stated "I am fascinated by the effect that pattern, structure, colour and optics has on our understanding of the world which often leads me to make installations that explore aspects of experience, perception and semiology. My recent work has developed from my interest in financial and social structures often investigating and using the language of diagrams and data graphics. My ideas for this new work have expanded this area and have developed from two diverse experiences; from a site visit site to New Plymouth in November last year and from a trip to Egypt that followed in December. Although worlds apart both sites made me think a lot about food, its production, its consumption, its economics and the political aspects of subsidies, tariffs and embargos that effect it. In particular two events have impacted my thinking, firstly coming across Robyn Oliver 1988 MA thesis, "The flour mills of Taranaki 1844-1935: a small industry forgotten" at the library at Puki Ariki and the other was visiting the tomb of Menna in Luxor. One described the history of wheat and the production of flour in the New Plymouth region and the other contained paintings of the harvesting and collecting of wheat from the Nile Delta in Egypt."
The project is set to remain in situ for the coming years and the plate is also the 3rd Govett Brewster Artist edition, available for purchase, single or as part of the set of 6.
February 2011 / Sara Hughes Against the Odds and upcoming installation at Govett-Brewster Gallery
Sara Hughes has designed a life sized horse for the charity event Resene's fastest Art Exhibition. The project is a collaboration with Sara Tetro and Sign of the Times to raise money for CanTeen and the children living with cancer that this important organization helps to support. Against the Odds can currently be seen around Auckland city. For more information on the event see the CanTeen website. You can bid for this unique artwork online here, all funds raised go to CanTeen.
Sara is currently working on a major new installation that opens at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery on 12 March. Watch this space for more information.
JANUARY 2011 / SARA HUGHES AND REUBEN PATERSON IN TOP TEN AT GUS FISHER GALLERY
Celebrating ten years of the Gus Fisher Gallery, which opened in March 2001, Top Ten introduces a selection of works most recently added to The University of Auckland Art Collection. Since 2006, the collection has been managed by the Centre for New Zealand Art Research and Discovery, which also looks after the Gus Fisher Gallery and Window.
Artists featured include Sara Hughes, Megan Jenkinson, Andrew McLeod, Alex Monteith, Roger Mortimer, Seung Yul Oh, Fiona Pardington, Reuben Paterson, Yvonne Todd and Daniel von Sturmer. On until 5 March. (image: Hughes, Chromatic Interactions, 2010)
November 2010 / Sara Hughes at Britomart
Sara Hughes' Love Me Tender is now on show in a Customs St window front at Britomart, Auckland, as part of an ongoing series of temporary exhibitions hosted by Cooper and Company.
September 2010 / Sara Hughes on the cover of Art New Zealand
Sara Hughes is the feature artist of the current Spring edition of Art New Zealand. The nine page article The spectrum of Sara Hughes - The artist in conversation contains an in-depth interview by Charlotte Huddleston with the artist on her practice. "Sara Hughes is engaged in an ongoing exploration of a number of areas in her work. At play is a recurring interest in pattern, code and structure as an avenue to navigate context and environment. This artists projects respond physically and conceptually to site, employing colour (itself highly charged with associative meanings), paint and vinyl as carriers of form and ideas. Charlotte Huddleston corresponded with Hughes in order to tease out some of the underlying approaches to and aspects of her practice." (Art New Zealand, Number 135 / Spring 2010, p. 26)
Sara Hughes' exhibition World Wide Optimism is reviewed in The Age in Melbourne. Reviewer Dan Rule writes The sheer statistical depth [of the work] is dumbfounding, but what grants these works their real vigour is their semiotic complexity and sense of aesthetic paradox. Indeed, while Hughes's arrangements and compositions espouse a syntax of graphs, diagrams and other visual techniques for mapping economic data, her colour palette effectively hijacks and eschews our analysis at every turn. Read the full article online here. Sara will be exhibiting at Gow Langsford Gallery in November.
February 2010 / Sara Hughes' For Kultur at Hawkes Bay Museum and Art Gallery
Sara Hughes' For Kultur opens in early March at the Hawkes Bay Museum and Art Gallery.
"Museums and Art Galleries are the holders of our histories and meanings; preserving cultures and civilisations as time passes. The way in which collections develop has an influence on our understanding of both the past and the present. These ideas come together in For Kultur, an ambitious exhibition by leading contemporary artist Sara Hughes. Hughes has been working closely with the HBMAG team, researching the collection and developing a new installation that draws on some of treasures of the Hawkes Bay Cultural Trust collection." (sourced from HBMAG newsletter)
For Kultur is on 12 March - 27 June 2010. See the Hawkes Bay Museum and Art Gallery website for opening times.
March 2010 I Sara Hughes at Federation Square, Melbourne
Sara Hughes' recent project Heat Wave responds to the location of Federation Square and with a wider contextual context that relates to issues of climate change and Australian culture. The work is made up from a group of eleven umbrellas created to become giant pie charts referencing particular statistics; they are attached to concrete upturned water tanks that have the reference of each statistic painted onto them.
There is an ironic or incongruous nature of beach looking umbrellas taking up the middle of a city square. As areas of public space shrink within contemporary cities and move towards the commercially owned and motivated (often filled with cafes sporting umbrellas sponsored by drink, food and cigarette companies) this project negotiates aspects of the culture landscape to produce an aesthetically and critically engaging environment.
The project will be up till the 25th April. For more information see the Federation Square website.
November 2009 I Sara Hughes Publication
Sara Hughes new publication Feedback Runaway is now available for purchase. Published by Revolver Publishing in Germany, Feedback Runaway includes texts by Christoph Tannert and Christina Vgh and was produced during her residency at the Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. See publication details here and contact us to purchase (RRP $65).
November 2009 I Sara Hughes' commission at Central Park, Papakura
Commissioned by Papakura District Council, Sara Hughes has been working with Chow:Hill Architects on a permanent outdoor stage at Central Park in South Auckland. The stage is now open to the public and will host the first performance on December 4. Hughes has covered the roof, floor and structural supports for the roof with blasts of colour which give the impression of a giant lightbox.
April 2009 I Sara Hughes Feedback Runaway in Berlin
Sara Hughes first solo show in Berlin opened last weekend. Feedback Runaway is a body of new work created during her Creative New Zealand sponsored residency at the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien.
For Feedback Runaway Hughes has collected data from the financial pages of the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper and transformed it into an installation that takes over the gallery space. Seemingly overloaded with information, the installation covers walls, floors and the ceiling of the gallery with representations of data ranging from the imperative to the trivial. Hughes states that I have an ongoing concern with 'what we see' and 'how we see' and I am interested in the structures via which information gets transacted; particularly in relation to our media saturated world that has become mediated and regulated by information.
The exhibition runs 26th March - 12th April. For further information see Kunstlerhaus Bethanien.
19. 02. 09 I Sara Hughes talks about the Artbus project, Auckland Festival, 2009
Vehicle culture is ingrained in all countries and nations, I am interested in how this has developed and become a global phenomenon, yet at the same time how the local and the personal are always evident. There is a human desire to alter, personalize and create identity through the embellishment of vehicles; black and white fluffy dice at the front or a pink crocheted Kleenex box at the rear. There is the sixteen year old who paints his Ford Escort black to fit with the crowd and then the Indian truck owner who paints a brightly coloured horn ok please sign on the back of his truck to stand out from the crowd.
The concept of my design is connected to aspects of travel; road trips, highway loops, byway detours and the desire to be picked up and whisked away to another reality.
Drawing upon a wide array of influences and imagery connected to the embellishment of vehicles, I am influenced by my experiences of riding ornately painted open backed trucks in the Philippines, to late night rides in decorated Tuktuks in Bangkok, to overtaking glossy hot rods on American freeways. Memories of rainbow painted house trucks from my youth get melded with my admiration for the perfect pin stripe.
This description sets the scene to my approach of being invited by the Auckland Festival to create an artwork for a Bus from the NZ Bus fleet. While my bus design may pale into significance compared to elaborate Pakistani truck decoration, it aims to reinterpret elements long used in vehicle embellishment in a new and contemporary way. I have created a graphic environment inhabited with birds and flowers mixed with swirls of pattern and flames to create a Baroque surreal profusion of colour and imagery that incorporates both abstract and representative imagery.
I am currently living in Berlin where I am undertaking the Creative New Zealand, Knstlerhaus Bethanien Art Residency for one year. A city in which public transport is highly effective and efficient, many trips from home to the studio have been spent thinking about the issues and imagery explored in my bus design. I thank NZ Bus and the Auckland Festival for the invitation to create this work, I have enjoyed enormously the opportunity to create an artwork that will move through the city and be seen and used by a wide array of people.
Sara Hughes January 2009
14. 08. 08 I Sara Hughes awarded Creative New Zealand Visual Arts Berlin Residency 2008/9
Sara Hughes is the recipient of the 2008/09 Creative New Zealand Berlin Visual Artists Residency at the Knstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. The biennial 12-month residency provides an opportunity for visual artists to work on their approved project, gain professional development, build international networks and generally increase awareness of New Zealand visual arts. Excited to be offered the opportunity, Sara Hughes says she will use the residency to create a new body of work.
I am interested in developing a project that examines the cultural and political context of the Olympics with specific reference to the Beijing Games (2008) and the Berlin Games (1937). I specifically want to investigate imagery and data relating to patterns of behaviour and configurations of spectacle and national identity as portrayed through the use of colour, consumerism and propaganda.
Previous New Zealand recipients of the Creative New Zealand residency at Knstlerhaus Bethanien are Peter Robinson (2000), Michael Stevenson (2002), Ronnie van Hout (2004) and Mladen Bizumic (2006).The Berlin residency is one of a number of international artist residencies offered by Creative New Zealand to provide opportunities for New Zealand artists to develop their practice and build international networks.
For more information please refer to www.creativenz.govt.nz
01.07.08 I Sara Hughes wins RIPE: Art & Australia Magazine Award
Sara Hughes was recently announced as the first New Zealand recipient of the RIPE:Art & Australia Magazine/ANZ Private Bank Contemporary Art Award. The award promotes the work of emerging artists, publishing an image of the winner's work on the back cover of Art & Australia magazine. RIPE recipients are further supported via the acquisition of at least one of their artworks to the Art & Australia Magazine Collection. Two artists are selected every six months. Artist entries are administered by the National Association for the Visual Arts Ltd (NAVA).
For further information, visit the NAVA website:www.visualarts.net.au/grantsprizes/ripe
12.06.08 I Sara Hughes in MiNDFOOD magazine
MiNDFOOD Magazine spends '5 minutes with Sara Hughes' as she reveals the impetus for new works conceived during a year in the U.S. fulfilling two artist's residencies. Hughes will exhibit new paintings in 'Scales of Economy' at Gow Langsford opening July 1.
02.09.08 I Sara Hughes: United We Fall
United We Fall was created for the Christchurch Art Gallery and was curated by Justin Paton. It is the first in a series of 'Glasshouse' projects, a programme of major works commisioned for the art gallery's foyer. This densly patterned work intervenes with the gallery architecture; covering the raise of the stairs and running along the glass balistrade of the first floor, the grey stone and concrete now colonised by Sara Hughes saturated palette.
The concept for the work was developed during the two U.S residencies Hughes undertook last year.
I have recently returned to New Zealand after spending a year in America where I was influenced by the current US political climate and the issues surrounding the hotly contested Democratic Primary Elections and the pending economic crisis. Responding to the ways colour and power are intertwined; this work makes use of statistical data that relates to the colours of world flags. I want to turn the lobby of the Art Gallery into a cascade of marching, pulsating, saturated colour that questions both the local and global space it occupies.
United We Fall will be installed at in the main foyer of the Christchurch Art Gallery until August 2009. Sara Hughes is also featured this months Artist Profile Magazine: http://www.wolseleymedia.com.au/AP-Sara-Hughes.html
Of Deities or Mortals at the Christchurch Art Gallery
Recent works by Sara Hughes and Reuben Paterson are included in Of Deities or Mortals at the Christchurch Art Gallery, open from 16 November 2007 - 10 February 2008. Titled after a line in John Keats' poem Ode on a Grecian Urn, Of Deities or Mortals takes eight objects from the University of Canterbury's James Logie Memorial Collection of Greek artifacts, and invites eight contemporary New Zealand artists to create a response. For more information about the show and featured artists, visit the Christchurch Art Gallery or email email@example.com
A new installation by Sara Hughes is on show at Te Manawa Gallery in Palmerston North until the 15 July. Entitled Flower Wall (2007), the work is comprised of thousands of brightly coloured hand-painted die-cut paper flowers, seamlessly blending technology and the hand-made. A comparable work entitled Flower Field(2007) can be viewed in the In Fluorescents show at Gow Langsford Gallery until 30 May.
The Big Stick Up, an installation by Hughes that was first seen at the Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery in New South Wales, has recently been installed at The Suter Art Gallery in Nelson. The exhibition runs from the 20 April - 10 June, 2007.
Hughes will also exhibit in a curated group show at Pataka Gallery from the 13 May - 12 August and will feature alongside Andrew McCleod, Kelcy Taratoa, Tim Thatcher and Gow Langsford Gallery artist, Darryn George. New Painting: Digital Age, curated by Helen Kedgley, highlights the reconciliation of digital technology with traditional painting techniques which are central to the practice of this group of influential young artists. The exhibition opens with a panel discussion with the artists on the 13th May 2007.
At the end of May, 2007, Hughes will take up a residency at the ISCP (International Studio and Curatorial Programme) in New York as the recipient of the Paramount Prize in the Wallace Art Awards (2005). Following the ISCP residency she will take up another at The McColl Center for Visual Arts in Charlotte, North Carolina, from January through April, 2008.
Sara Hughes: Artlink "Nine Great Artists"
The latest issue of Australia's Artlink magazine features an article on the work of Sara Hughes, as part of their "Nine Great Artists" lineup. The article focuses on Hughes' recent installation at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and is written by Rhana Devenport (Director, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery).